Candlelight vigil held for two men killed in Waccamaw Bingo shooting

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HORRY COUNTY, SC (WBTW) – Family and friends of Steve and “Sparky” Johnson gathered together Monday night to honor the two men. They were shot and killed in the Waccamaw Bingo parlor shooting Friday night.

Steve Johnson Sr.’s brother and other friends say Steve and Sparky made the bingo parlor a true family-owned and family-oriented place where the community could come together.

Everyone who knew Steve and Sparky Johnson say the men would’ve given the shirts off of their backs to help anyone.

Family and friends embrace as they celebrate the lives of Steve Johnson, Sr. and “Sparky” Johnson.
Steve Johnson Sr.

“We had so much fun working here,” said John Reichardt, who worked alongside the men calling bingo numbers for nearly 30 years. “I mean, they were good people. They’d do anything for you.”

Reichardt remembers meeting the Johnsons after responding to a small newspaper ad nearly 30 years ago.

His life was forever changed.

Steve “Sparky” Johnson Jr.

“It means so much for some of these people to come out to pay respects I mean, for two souls. I mean, it’s unbelievable. I still can’t comprehend it,” he said.

Monday night, those who knew Steve and Sparky Johnson, the father and son shot and killed at the Waccamaw Bingo parlor on Belle Terre Boulevard, came together to honor them with a candlelight vigil.

Sheila Bryant is one of the bingo players Steve and Sparky made feel so welcome.

“I played bingo every night almost,” she said. “I didn’t hardly miss a night unless I was sick. Yeah, and if I was, they would reach out and check on me and stuff like that. But this is like my family, too.”

Flowers, signs and candles filled the outside of the Waccamaw Bingo parlor that Steve and “Sparky” Johnson owned for more than 30 years.

Steve Johnson Sr.’s brother, Franklin Johnson, drove from his home in Florida for this night.

“We [were] real close together,” he said.

Holding back tears, he wishes he could hear one of Steve or Sparky’s jokes one last time.

“He was a lot of fun,” said Johnson. “Sparky was. Well, Steve was too. Both of them.”

As Horry County Police continue to search for the suspect who killed the two men Friday night, there’s one thing the family is hoping for.

“Right now, we just want justice for the family, and I feel like they will get justice,” said Bryant. “It will, it will happen.”

The father and son will have a double funeral service this Friday at 2 p.m. in the afternoon at the Sumter County Exhibition Center.

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